This has been on my heart for weeks, maybe even months now. And as I sit here with a baby strapped to me, I re-realize for the millionth time that we aren't on my time anymore. My house is a disaster, and I have done an hour of acrobatics in order to get dishes, laundry, and miscellaneous toys picked up with a fifteen pound wiggly weight on the front. And you know - I have a sweet-smelling baby head, two big blue eyes that look up to me with wonder, and the ability to say, "I can do the rest later."
I just want you to know something. You are enough. Yes, you. Even on the days you go to bed with feelings of doubt. The nights where you lay in bed and wonder if you showed enough patience, enough love...enough courage.
That lady with the lingering stare? She isn't silently judging your yoga pants and spit-up laden shirt with the tossed up hair. She silently watches you with love; she knows the password to the club you belong to, too. She knows the exact amount of coffee necessary for normal function, she knows the feeling of beating a PR in the time it takes to clean the house before the baby wakes, the amount of patience to assemble the Lego yacht. 27 times.
Do you know when your children think you are most beautiful? When you are on the floor with them, engaged in a bizarre hybrid game of My Little Pony and Broadway. When you sing to them, when you pray with them, and when you read their favorite story for the hundredth time, when you agree to dress up in the silliest costumes. They think you've hung the moon when you cut their peanut butter sandwich into fun shapes and give them nutella with their bananas.
Do you know what your children won't remember? That the baseboards were clean. That you carefully coordinated the snacks to match the story and the crafts each day. The outfits you wore, the pristinely-folded laundry, or the sparkling counter tops. That you got it all right. But they will remember how you made them feel, how you showed them love, and the little things - the songs you sung, the way you smelled, the feel of your hugs, and the lessons you taught. Just the way you are.
We live in this crazy world with pressure to keep up with the trends, and a habit of defending our choices to others. Here it is simply: there will never be anyone that can be a better you. We all tread water in uncharted territories, and the part that matters is that your children know your whole hear and the vast amount of your love.
Stop and jump in the puddles, let them dress themselves, eat ice cream for dinner. Show them life, show them love, show them you. It's okay to make mistakes. Laugh at them. Cry at them. Handle them gracefully; they are the pieces that make you who you are and who little eyes are watching.
Next time, smile at the woman that quietly observes you. You both belong to an amazingly beautiful club and your children think you are incredible.